Every year since that longest March, the March we thought we’d get through with just a couple of weeks of inconvenience, for some value of ‘we’ and of ‘inconvenience’, every year since that March has felt both infinite and comically short.
Things that affect how we perceive time: culture; music; drugs; age; emotions; hormones; heartbeats; nature. To that list I add: the aftermath of the deaths of millions of people.
Almost two years since I moved back to New York. Almost two years since I started the current gig. Almost two years since I left Texas. Almost four years since I last went home, where ‘home’ is still mostly Trinidad but also mostly not.
Home is a liminal thing.
When you apply for some kinds of US visa you have to provide a detailed list of every address you’ve ever lived at, anywhere. My list is long. I keep it in a spreadsheet, organised chronologically as the bureaucracy demands.
Sometimes I am looking for something and I am convinced it is in a certain drawer or closet but that drawer and that closet belonged to an apartment I haven’t lived in for years. Sometimes I reach for a light switch that belonged to a different wall than the one currently at arm’s length.
Sometimes I wonder if I would have stayed in Texas if not for…everything. Sometimes I imagine moving back to Trinidad, but not often.
Possibility is not always probability. Probability is expensive, though imagination is free.
Most likely, you think we hated the elephant,
the golden toad, the thylacine and all variations
of whale harpooned or hacked into extinction.
It must seem like we sought to leave you nothing
but benzene, mercury, the stomachs
of seagulls rippled with jet fuel and plastic.
You probably doubt that we were capable of joy,
but I assure you we were.
— from Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years from Now by Matthew Olzmann